Catherine Blancard

Catherine Blancard

Director of Freshwater Communications for WWF-US.

Augmented Reality (AR) is the next technological disrupter, changing how we communicate and interact with complex information. In September 2017, Apple announced that they were embedding AR into their devices, putting this futuristic technology in the hands of the hundreds of millions of iPhone- and iPad-users around the globe. Unlike Virtual Reality, there’s no need for clunky glasses or extra equipment—almost any Apple device can take you on a transformative experience.

As we at WWF set out to save the planet’s remain free-flowing rivers, we realized that AR could deliver our message in the most visceral and memorable way. We created an AR app that lets users experience the value of free-flowing rivers and what happens when they’re destroyed. The user then is part of the solution, freeing the river and finding other pathways for more sustainable development.

In today’s digital world, most young people probably have never played with a 3D model, a faithful representation of a fictional but realistic world. This app reproduces the sensation of playing with a classic 3D model while having the interactive, immersive experience that only AR can provide. It also evokes emotions in a way flat screens can’t, because you’re using your body to play, putting it in motion to achieve goals. This experience helps people understand and empathize with the people and wildlife that depend on healthy, flowing rivers, and will inspire action towards our cause.

In this session, we’ll demo the app, explain how it came to be, and share why it—and others like it—have the power to help us keep our rivers free-flowing.

View 2018 Presentation here

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